Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit today against the federal government arguing officials have stopped giving asylum seekers a fair hearing and instead have setup a “deportation mill” for Central American immigrants.
The complaint alleges the Obama administration is in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment by enacting a strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations.
The groups filed the case on behalf of mothers and children held at a detention center in Artesia, New Mexico. The plaintiffs, all of them from Central America, allege they fled their countries due to threats of violence.
According to a news release, the government is violating long-established constitutional and statutory law by enacting policies that have:
• Categorically prejudged asylum cases with a "detain-and-deport" policy, regardless of individual circumstances.
• Drastically restricted communication with the outside world for the women and children held at the remote detention center, including communication with attorneys. If women got to make phone calls at all, they were cut off after three minutes when consulting with their attorneys.
• Given virtually no notice to detainees of critically important interviews used to determine the outcome of asylum requests. Mothers have no time to prepare, are rushed through their interviews, are cut off by officials throughout the process, and are forced to answer traumatic questions, including detailing instances of rape, while their children are listening.
• Led to the intimidation and coercion of the women and children by immigration officers, including being screamed at for wanting to see a lawyer.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center.